World Snooker Championship: Four-time champion Mark Selby shocked by debutant Joe O’Connor | Snooker News

Four-time world snooker champion Mark Selby beaten 10-6 by debutant Joe O’Connor at the Crucible Theatre; “Away from snooker I’m happy, then when I come to snooker it’s the opposite. It was pathetic from start to finish”

Last Updated: 22/04/24 10:02pm

Mark Selby was knocked out of this year's World Snooker Championship by Joe O'Connor (right)

Mark Selby was knocked out of this year’s World Snooker Championship by Joe O’Connor (right)

Four-time world snooker champion Mark Selby has vowed to consider retirement after crashing out in a “pathetic” 10-6 defeat to qualifier Joe O’Connor on Monday.

Selby, who questioned his future in the sport after losing to Gary Wilson in the Tour Championship earlier this month, went down to a 10-6 defeat to fellow Leicestershire star O’Connor having trailed 7-2 after the Sunday morning session.

Selby managed to draw on his famous fighting qualities as he opened with a break of 112 and also fired a 91 to reduce the deficit to 8-5 at the mid-session interval.

O’Connor, the only debutant in the tournament this year, showed few signs of nerves as he nudged 56 points from victory in the next to move one more frame from a famous victory.

Selby responded once more with a break of 67 then threatened to edge within two frames when he went 39 points up in the next before an ice-cool red down the rail by his opponent effectively confirmed his demise.

Having first questioned his future after a Tour Championship defeat to Gary Wilson earlier this month, Selby admitted something will have to change if he is to continue on the tour next season.

Selby, who has reached a solitary ranking final this season, said: “I will take a long time to think about it over the summer. Away from snooker I’m happy, then when I come to snooker it’s the opposite. It was pathetic from start to finish.”

Selby (right) will give some serious thought to his future in the summer

Selby (right) will give some serious thought to his future in the summer

It marked the first time since 2018 that Selby has lost in the first round, and prompted ‘The Jester from Leicester’ to admit that he will give some serious thought to his future in the summer.

Selby told the BBC: “I’ll sit down with (my wife) Vicky and see what the options are.

“Obviously it will be a big decision but if I do carry on playing I need help, probably on the mental side of it a little bit more just to go out there and enjoy the game.

“That’s all I want to do, go out there and enjoy it and, for me, it’s always sort of life or death; I’ve always been that kind of character, putting too much pressure on myself and trying too hard.”

O’Connor will battle either No 12 seed Kyren Wilson or Dominic Dale in round two.

Shaun Murphy began his quest for a second world title in style as he cruised his way into the second round with a 10-5 victory over Lyu Haotian.

Murphy started the session with a 6-3 lead and was looking to carry on where he left off when he punished China’s Haotian from 38 points behind to pinch the opening frame to extend his advantage to four.

Murphy secured the next to make it five consecutive frames but Haotian won two out of the next three to extend the tie slightly.

A relaxed Murphy did not sweat and – with the 2005 world champion just needing a solitary frame for the win – he wrapped it up in style with a break of 81 to put himself into the second round of the tournament for the first time since 2021.

Murphy springs to defence of Crucible after ‘smelly’ comments

Shaun Murphy has accused rival Hossein Vafaei of'sacrilege' after the Iranian launched a scathing attack on the conditions at the Crucible Theatre

Shaun Murphy has accused rival Hossein Vafaei of’sacrilege’ after the Iranian launched a scathing attack on the conditions at the Crucible Theatre

Murphy described criticism of snooker’s fabled Crucible as sacrilege after Iran’s Hossein Vafaei described it as “smelly”.

The start of this year’s tournament has been overshadowed by verbal pot shots at the iconic venue that has hosted the tournament since 1977.

Responding to Vafaei’s comments, 2005 champion Murphy said: “This is holy ground. It’s almost sacrilege for a professional snooker player to be so openly critical of our home.

“Hossein should educate himself on how our tour works in relationships with the WST and our broadcast partners, and what a special place this is.

“Does he think he is helping our sport grow by being so openly critical of one of our biggest partners? He has not helped the sport at all.”

What else happened at the Crucible on Monday?

Mark Williams edged in front of last year's surprise semi-finalist Si Jiahui

Mark Williams edged in front of last year’s surprise semi-finalist Si Jiahui

Triple world champion Mark Williams edged in front of last year’s surprise semi-finalist Si Jiahui in a high-quality opening session of their first round match.

Williams started the match with a brilliant 142 clearance but Si hit back, and the Welshman had to dig deep to win the final two frames of the session to establish a 5-4 lead ahead of Tuesday’s conclusion.

Stuart Bingham stormed into an impressive three-frame lead to give him a healthy advantage at the end of the first session, leading Gary Wilson 6-3.

Ronnie O'Sullivan says if the World Snooker Championship was relocated to Saudi Arabia then he would find the tournament more convenient as a player

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Ronnie O’Sullivan says if the World Snooker Championship was relocated to Saudi Arabia then he would find the tournament more convenient as a player

Ronnie O’Sullivan says if the World Snooker Championship was relocated to Saudi Arabia then he would find the tournament more convenient as a player

The WST recently signed a deal to step up promotion of the game in Saudi Arabia, and next year’s second World Masters of Snooker event will offer a $1m (£810,000) jackpot for any player capable of potting a special golden ball after a maximum break.

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